02-05-2012, 05:01 PM
Hysterectomy: January 4th, 2012
4 weeks post LAVH - very positive story - UK based
I haven't posted here before but I can't tell you how invaluable the site was before and after my op so by way of thanks I'm writing up my story hoping it will help others.
It's a long one but I've tried to cover all the areas I've researched over the years and how I got to here.
My periods have always been heavy since I started twenty years ago; I'm 42 now.
Luckily I've never suffered much with pain just a few stomach cramps and a sicky but relatively low pain migraine the day I came on.
I went on the pill in my teens which helped a little but when my husband had a vasectomy when I was in my mid 20s doctors were reluctant to keep me on the pill so I came off.
As an aside I haven't had children nor did I want any. My mom had a hysterectomy at age 37 for fibroids and painful periods. My maternal aunt continued to have periods till she was 70!
I've had a couple of ops for ovarian cysts but my periods just got heavier over time.
One gynae I saw for my cysts about ten years ago suggested I have an ablation at the same time so I did.
My periods stopped for about six months, I was ecstatic but they started again heavier than ever. I'd been signed off by the gynae by this stage so didn't follow it up and kept putting up with it.
Time went on and my periods got heavier and more frequent. I would come on every three weeks, I'd be on for 7-10 days and for 3-4 of those days I'd flood so heavy I was afraid to leave the house.
In between periods I'd get odd days when I'd 'spot' only it was a fairly heavy flow for half a day or so.
Basically I felt like I constantly had to wear a towel just in case.
My moods got awful just before I was due on; I'm convinced this wasn't hormonal as such more dread for what I knew was coming and that it was now ruling my life. Holidays, meetings, etc were a nightmare to plan. Luckily I worked from home but I'd spend my period in scruffy clothes and 'period pants' - hardly endearing and that just added to my feeling crap.
About a year ago I realised this was affecting many aspects of my life including my relationship with DH. It got to him asking if I wasn't having a period rather than if I was!
I got fed up starting exercise programmes as I'd be constantly putting them off due to such heavy periods and was gaining weight.
I have so many ruined clothes, ruined a sofa and got fed up of that fear of standing up wondering if you've leaked.
So I went to see my doctor who suggested I have the Mirena coil fitted. She booked me in to see the specialist female GP who put them in and I waited 6 weeks for that appointment.
When I went to see her she said that as I'd not had children it would be too difficult to do in the surgery and I'd need a hospital appointment instead. She said the other doctor should have known. I burst into tears - I'd had enough.
The doctor was lovely and talked me through everything and suggested I go on Norethisterone. For those who don't know it stops your periods and is often used for holidays, weddings, etc. but as you have to take 3 tablets a day then it's really for short term use. She was astonished I'd not been offered it before and put me on repeat prescription. She recommended I stay on it for a few months at a time to have a break and stop to have a period then go back on it till something more permanent.
I was referred to the hospital to have the Mirena coil fitted a few weeks later. Ouch! That hurt!
I felt it inside me constantly and went to the hospital to have it checked and they said it was in fine.
A couple of days later I was in A&E late at night with discomfort such that I couldn't wait to see my doctor or get an appointment. The doctor removed it.
So i went back to the hospital and I saw a lady specialist gynae who after numerous blood tests, scans, internals and conversations suggested I have the Mirena coil fitted again as well as another ablation all under general anaesthetic. I wasn't very keen as I'd had both already. I'm all for trying something but not having to go through everything again. But she insisted I should try those again first so I reluctantly relented.
I was booked in and that appointment took about 4 months to come through.
It was day surgery so I had to get there for 7am. I was changed into my gown, prepped for surgery etc and hadn't had a drink or food since the night before.
Other ladies came and went and about 3pm the doctor came to see me to say they had lost the equipment! I was livid. She told me to hold fire as they were still looking. At about 4:30 they came and said they'd had the equipment couriered from another hospital but had now run out of theatre time. I burst into tears - again! I felt pushed into this in the first place and then for this to happen.... But took it as a sign I was right all along.
I went back to my GP who referred me to a well regarded gynae.
He was absolutely lovely and immediately said that I'd been through enough and was an ideal candidate for a hysterectomy.
The problem was he'd found a huge growth on my cervix and needed to act on that before doing anything.
Luckily it was benign and he removed it all. He also used it as a chance to see if I was suitable for a LAVH versus an AH and was relatively confident I'd be ok but warned if there were complications they might have to do an AH.
I had done a lot of research and I was very keen to have the LAVH as I'm fairly young so less scarring and I run my own business so recovery is generally quicker.
I was booked in to have my op on 4th Jan 2012. It would be a total LAVH all being well i.e. cervix to be removed but I'd keep my ovaries as I'm a bit young for HRT.
It was odd at Christmas being filled with joy at finally getting somewhere but anxious about the op.
I have a bit of high blood pressure so they asked me to go into hospital on the 3rd for monitoring beforehand.
I said goodbye to DH and watched TV till about 3am as I couldn't sleep then dropped off to wake up about 6:30am.
I couldn't drink or eat but mid morning got told I wouldn't be going to theatre till last which would be late afternoon so I was allowed a drink.
The various people came and went, the gynae team, anaesthetist, etc then eventually at 4:30pm the porter came for me.
I don't mind admitting I'm terrified of hospitals, needles, etc but in some odd way I so wanted to get down there by this time I didn't feel too bad. The staff were absolutely wonderful, keeping me talking and laughing until I was gone!
The next I knew I was in recovery. The nurse kept telling me to stay awake but I just wanted to sleep - she kept on and on! Then a lovely male nurse came over and said I'll do a deal with you; if you can stay awake for three minutes I'll then let you sleep - I counted!
He asked how I felt and if I had any pain; I had none at all. He said I'll give you one more dose of morphine and won't put you on the morphine drip (the self administered one) but ask the nurses if you have any pain.
Next I knew I could hear my DH asking the nurse which operation I'd had as he knew it was important to me to know. They said the LAVH and I was so happy. This was around 10:30pm.
I had an oxygen mask on and that's all I knew. DH kissed me and left a while later.
I woke about 3am absolutely burning up and I felt so faint. I tried to get cool but just couldn't and was getting fainter. I pressed the buzzer as I was about to fall out the bed. The nurses came over and did my stats. My blood pressure had plummeted and I was dehydrated so they put me on a saline drip, increased my oxygen and opened the windows by my bed. I was asleep again in minutes.
Next I knew it was about 8:30am and I woke up feeling tired still, in no real pain but dying for a wee!
The nurse came and checked on me again and I said was desperate to pee. She said I had a catheter in so I shouldn't feel like that as my bladder would empty itself but it felt to me like an elephant was sat on my bladder!
At this point I realised I had three canulas in and the one in my left wrist was hurting so the nurse removed it. The saline had stopped so she flushed out the canula but that really hurt so she said as long as I drank plenty she'd remove the others too - that was a relief. But as I drank more fluids the urge to pee got worse!
The nurse decided to remove the catheter and pulled it out without warning; ouchy! She didn't mean to hurt me as she hadn't realised I'd not had one before.
It's over very quickly and I have to confess the catheter was one of my biggest worries. If you've ever had really bad cystitis it's like trying to pee with that but over much quicker.
I then got out of bed gently and went to the toilet - I peed for England! They asked me to pee in one of them receptacles so they could check it and measure it. All clear and a scan showed my bladder was empty so working correctly.
I had a look round and had four entry points; my belly button, one either side of my belly and another near my bikini line all covered with dressings so couldn't tell what was going on underneath.
There was some blood in the bed where I had lay but I had no vaginal packing and not even a sanitary pad or knickers on as there was no bleeding.
I then had an injection in my stomach to stop blood clots; that stung a bit but again was over quickly.
They brought round breakfast but I wasn't up to it and just had loads of water.
Then around 11am they bought round tea and cake so I had a piece of chocolate cake and a sweet cup of tea - it was heavenly!
I drank loads more fluids then had a jacket potato and salad for lunch around 12:30.
I had a couple of paracetamol but only just in case as I still had no pain though when I moved it was more uncomfortable than painful.
The anaesthetist came to see me along with the gynae staff. One told me that my op should have been around 60-90 minutes but was actually nearly four and a half hours!
My bowel had got in the way which delayed everything and they'd found loads of fibroids too which added to the delays. These had never shown up on the scans!
I realised how lucky I was to have been last in the day and also to have had such a patient and understanding gynae as it would have been very easy for them to just go in abdominally and have it done and dusted.
My gynae came to see me and said he couldn't believe that a little over 12 hours ago I'd had this major four hour op!
He spoke to the nurses about my stats, catheter, toilet habits, eating and drinking, etc then asked me if anyone was visiting me that night. I said yes my DH and he said would I like to go home with him? I couldn't believe it I expected to be in another 2-3 days.
The nurses didn't believe me and had to check with gynae again nor did my DH.
I left about 9pm once all my paperwork was done and had a wonderful night in my own bed.
I woke after about 12 hours sleep and then sat in my PJs on the sofa watching TV. I drank loads of iced water and ate a little through the day then had a craving for a McDonalds for tea! I got some fresh air stood at the back door I also had a bowel movement; felt a bit odd but I was glad to go.
I went again each day for three days fairly normally then for about a week was quite constipated. I had loads of fluids and fruit and that normalised again.
That Saturday I felt ready to take a shower. That was lovely but I think I had it too hot and stood up for too long as I went very faint and had to lie down for a while but soon recovered.
I removed my dressings in the shower and was astonished and very pleased at how small my cuts were. A bonus was that my previous scars in my belly button from previous ops had been tidied up!
Another bonus was that before the op I'd had a bit of stress incontinence which I'd just put down to getting older but that had gone. I think the fibroids had probably been pressing on my bladder causing that.
My blood pressure was also low when I left the hospital so I stayed off my tablets and it stabilised to normal after a few days. It's crept up since so I'm back on a low dosage but it's not as high as it was before my op.
So for a week I didn't do much but watch TV. Second week I was getting bored but DH wouldn't let me do anything so I picked up a few emails and phone calls.
Week three I was getting really bored and work was piling up so I started back; as I said I work from home and it's mostly admin so no brick laying! My family aren't happy about it but I really feel as good if not better than before the op so I'm being careful but just want to get back to normal.
So it's just over 4 weeks since my op and I am pretty much back to normal. The only thing I'd say is I get tired quite quickly as my body is using a lot of energy to repair itself I guess and as my Doctor reminded me I've had one very major and very long operation.
I feel a bit bloated, get the odd twinge like a very mild period pain and still bleeding slightly. Now when I say bleeding it's not even enough to bother wearing a pad but when I wee and wipe its pinkish in colour. My doctor said its just my internal wounds 'oozing' and when that stops it is a good sign I'm pretty much healed internally.
Two of my four dissolvable stitches in my stomach have come out. They didn't hurt a bit.
My sex drive has already increased and I can't wait to get back to that! In fact i cant remember wanting sex so often or with such desire for many years.
My doctor said to wait till the bleeding has stopped and then go for it and just take it easy. Any pain or bleeding to stop until it had gone then try again and so on.
Similarly I can't wait to start exercising; again she said I can do whatever feels comfortable and to slowly increase everything over the coming weeks.
I still can't get my head around not having periods again even though it's been 6-7 weeks since my last one; no doubt it will sink in eventually. I've got a holiday coming up in May and I can't tell you how excited I am to not have this hanging over me.
I feel like I've got my life back in fact better I've got a life now! I need to lose some weight and exercise more regularly and am certainly going to make the most of this great opportunity I've been given.
I feel extremely lucky, very healthy and on the whole just great! Long may it continue.
My tips are as follows:
- Do loads of research before and know what you want
- Don't be afraid to ask questions and for what you want
- No one wants an operation but try to keep a positive attitude as it really does help
- Accept that you're likely to experience some pain and discomfort but that it's usually over quickly and the staff don't want you to suffer so ask for pain relief or for them to stop or change what they're doing
- Remember ultimately whatever is happening is aimed to ultimately make things better
- Be prepared; make lists beforehand of what you need for the hospital, what work you need to do before, food and drink in preparation, etc so you're not in a rush or a panic
Here is my hospital reminder list:-
Leave jewellery at home
Hair removal cream
Toothbrush & paste
2 in 1 Shampoo
Change & money
Take credit cards out of purse
Phone & charger
Tablets eg blood pressure
I hope this helps others and thanks again to all those who post to help others just like me.
Good luck and I hope your experience is as good as mine has been xxx